In an open letter to Real Housewives of New York fans via Bravo, Carole Radziwill addresses why she finally allowed a part of her life she’d always kept quiet to finally be exposed on this week’s episode. In her letter, Carole shares the reasons why she decided to have her trip to London filmed, how she emotionally prepared for the journey, and even her reaction to watching the episode air.
After thanking fans for their support, Carole admits, “I watched tonight’s episode with equal parts fear and gratitude. Fear because, well, it’s the show, and gratitude because Bravo treated my story with grace and honesty. I’ve been on this show for three seasons now and it has been good, bad, and ugly. But the one constant is the integrity I try to bring to each story. I do not chase silly drama for the sake of storylines, though it sometimes seems to find me.”
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Although Carole says she’s found herself “in hot water from time to time” throughout her stint on RHONY, she keeps it real on the show, trying not to manufacture drama for drama’s sake. “What you see on the show is what is happening in my life. It’s as real as reality can be. The London story is no different, except that it was a story I was reluctant to tell for many years. And one I almost didn’t tell.”
Not having discussed the details of her later husband Anthony’s death during the past three seasons of RHONY seems to have been a conscious choice Carole made. “I wrote a memoir years ago and everything I have to say about that part of my life is there, in that one place, the end,” she shares. “But life is funny. Just when you think you’ve written an ending, a plot point pops up. My latest one came in the form of an email from the church where I had interned my late husband’s ashes on the one year anniversary of his death, over 15 years ago. It was the strangest request–please come pick up your husband’s urn. Luckily, Anthony left me with the gift of his beautiful sense of humor. No one could have appreciated this twist of fate more than him. Off to London I went.”
Carole was hesitant to let Bravo document her trip to London. She reveals, “It took me some time to allow Bravo to follow that story. Initially, I said no. I couldn’t imagine talking about this part of my life so publicly. I called Father Damien in London and we had a long talk. I told him how pleased I was to hear from him and how excited I was to bring the urn back home. I told him what had transpired in my life during the past 15 years–the ups, the mediums, the downs, and the missing. I told him about the heartbreak and joy. I also told him about the television show. He was kind and soft-spoken. He heard me and he advised.”
Carole’s memory of a promise she made to herself after Anthony died – “that I would listen to what the universe was putting in front of me–the good, the bad, and the weird–and I would follow it with as much courage as I could muster” – also led her to become vulnerable enough to share her story publicly. “For better or worse I signed on to this show. And here I am,” writes Carole. “Sure, I cried a bit and that is always embarrassing to me to watch, but in the end, as I watched it, I felt proud. Proud that I had the courage to talk about my husband. Proud, again, of the life we built together and proud of the life I have built since.”
Noting that she’s not sharing her story to compare or contrast her personal pain with anyone else’s, Carole maintains, “My heartbreak isn’t harder than anyone else’s. We all have to endure this life journey. Mine has brought me immense joy and immense pain. I’ve loved and lost. And like everyone else who has done that, I’m more hesitant now. Our hearts are not as resilient as we pretend them to be. It’s one thing to post uplifting inspirational words by day, it’s another thing to try to sleep with the scars at night.”
One gift that Carole holds on to from her marriage to Anthony is the close relationship she still has with his mother. She reveals, “We share his memory together, and we share his loss. We share what was and what might have been. She is a graceful and elegant woman who has endured much joy and much sadness of her own, and with great strength. We have a sense of calm and history and peace with each other, and also respect, that no one else could ever know or understand except the two of us. Life is an overwhelming bundle of loose threads. The ones you can hang on to are precious.”
Ending her letter with kind words for her fellow London traveler, and fellow widowed housewife Dorinda Medley, Carole closes, “Thank you so much, Dorinda Medley, for sharing your beautiful story with me and allowing me to share mine.”
Wow. It’s good to hear from Carole via the written word. I’ve always found it odd that she, the gifted writer in the group, rarely (if ever?) blogs, so hearing a little bit more about her take on this episode is a breath of fresh air.
UPDATE – Carole Tweeted a response to the readers of her book who noted she wrote in the book about spreading his ashes.
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Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo